Displaying items by tag: heatwave
The worst April heatwave in Asian history is causing deaths and forcing schools to close. Temperatures of over 40C in Bangladesh have caused road surfaces to melt, and if the heat does not abate the ministry of environment will declare a temperature emergency. Six cities in India recorded temperatures above 44C. India has become particularly vulnerable to extreme heat recently; experts fear 2023 could be even worse. As temperatures and humidity soar, causing an orange severe heatwave warning, rural workers and labourers are forced to work outside. Weekend thunderstorms could abate conditions, but extreme heat is projected to continue into next week. Thailand has issued heatstroke health warnings and the high temperatures could continue beyond the usual summer months, causing drought and crop failure. China reported record-breaking temperatures for April in many locations, and over a dozen countries are experiencing similar problems. The death toll is expected to rise. Pray for the frail and elderly to drink enough fluids, including in the UK as meteorologists forecast an even hotter summer for us than in 2022.
A prolonged dry spell and record-breaking temperatures have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs, and dried-out soils. Environment secretary George Eustice has urged more firms to take action to mitigate the effects of the prolonged dry weather. But each water company has different thresholds and demands, so we might not see a UK-wide ban. Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee said, ‘It costs water companies money to impose a hosepipe ban and I suspect they have held off longer than they would have done twenty years ago when most people were unmetered and just paid their water rate.’ His comments come as the UK prepares to declare a drought. Water UK say that climate change and an increasing population mean there could be water shortages by 2050. On 10 August Thames Water sent water tankers to residents in the first place in Britain to run dry when Stokenchurch reservoir was found to contain E.coli.
The Met Office has issued an extreme heat weather warning (Level 3 Alert) for most of England and parts of Wales, with temperatures building, especially from 16 to 19 July when the maximum could reach 38C. There could be a danger to life or potential serious illness; there could be widespread impact on infrastructure, with road closures and cancellations or delays to rail and air travel. Health minister Maria Caulfield said that a heatwave plan is being actioned; also a NHS hot weather plan is in place. Pray for health and social care workers to pay particular attention to the elderly and vulnerable. Pray for councils and boroughs to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable street people and rough sleepers. Pray for parents to watch young children for signs of heat exhaustion. In England, there were 2,500 excess deaths in the summer of 2020 as a result of hot weather.
All week Europe has been battling wildfires fuelled by soaring temperatures in Portugal, France, Turkey and Spain. Pray for 3,500 Portuguese firefighters battling dozens of blazes in record-breaking temperatures. Pray for the 600 people in Leiria who were forced out of their homes, and over 3,000 who were evacuated in Turkey. Pray for devastated people like 77-year-old Adelino, a Portuguese farmer who said, ‘Everything burned. It looked like the end of the world.’ Pray for Spanish farmers who have lost over 70,300 hectares. Pray for 1,000 French firefighters trying to control two major wildfires. 4,000 hectares have already burned in southwest France.
Japan is sweltering under its worst heatwave for almost 150 years. The city of Isesaki, northwest of the capital, saw a record 40.2C - the highest temperature ever recorded for Japan. There are official warnings of a looming power shortage and calls for people to conserve energy where possible. But the government is still advising people to use air conditioning to avoid heatstroke as cases of hospitalisation rise with the heat. Meteorologists warn the heat will continue in the coming days. Pray for the elderly and those with heart disease. In the heat blood vessels open up, leading to lower blood pressure. The heart works harder to push the blood around the body which could lead to a heart attack. Weather officials warn the heat is likely to continue in the coming days. See also
India is the most ethnically diverse nation on earth, with over 2,500 people groups, 22 official languages, and thousands of castes. It hosts most of the world’s Hindus and Muslims. The country traditionally maintains free speech and religious freedom, but these are being tested by Hindu nationalism; this mainly targets Muslims, but Christians also face discrimination, persecution and anti-conversion laws. Pray that India’s proud traditions of tolerance and freedom will continue and strengthen. Its churches have sent 100,000 people across India to communicate the gospel, start churches, and relieve suffering and injustice: resulting in tens of thousands of new congregations. Pray that this amazing missionary movement will transform India through Christ. However, this week the most urgent prayer need is for the millions displaced by floods in the north and 25 days of heatwave in densely-populated Delhi, where vast numbers are falling ill from heatstroke. Some have little access to clean water.
250 deaths have been reported across the Pacific northwest. Unprecedented numbers have died in Canada from unbearable heat that has smashed temperature records. Vancouver police responded to over 130 sudden deaths. Casualties were mostly elderly or those with health conditions a contributing factor. British Columbia broke temperature records 3 days in a row (49.6C or 121.3F). A spontaneous wildfire forced the village of Lytton to evacuate on 1 July, a day after it recorded the country's highest-ever temperature. The fire spread through the village of 250 people in just 15 minutes. The USA also has record highs; fatalities will rise as some areas have yet to collate the numbers. Pray for those without air conditioning and the families of heatstroke victims. Pray for fire brigades working to prevent wildfires and for communities to help each other to stay cool. May relatives and neighbours recognise danger signs and ensure the vulnerable stay in the shade, wear a hat, and other things they may need reminding of.
Delhi has 47.6oC temperatures and Churu in Rajasthan recorded 50oC in north India’s heatwave, which will last a few more days. The region also struggles with rising Covid-19 infections and swarms of locusts ravaging their crops. The temperatures are the highest India has seen in decades. Indian heatwaves in recent years have caused a number of deaths; there are no data yet on the impact of the current weather. Thousands of migrants are walking the highways after fleeing pandemic-ridden cities to try to return to their villages. Many have little food or water and will be among the most exposed to the sun and heat. In addition to that, the heatwave has affected efforts to combat the swarms of locusts. 100+ workers are using vehicle-mounted sprayers, pesticides and drones in the searing heat.
On 27 June, amid a Europe-wide heatwave, a forest fire in Catalonia raged out of control, despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters working through the night. It broke out on 26 June, and had destroyed over 10,000 acres by the next morning. Already thirty people have been evacuated from farmhouses, and the regional government warned that it could eventually devour 50,000 acres. It may have been caused by manure in a farm generating enough heat to explode and produce sparks. Much of Europe is gripped in a record-breaking heatwave that could send thermometers above 40 C (104 F).
The fire on Saddleworth Moor is out, but the fire service told the public to stay safe on the moorlands, especially as schools are closing. Between 15 and 19 July there have been many fires on grasslands, including one near Epping Forest where forty fire engines attended a blaze which stretched across 247 acres. The London fire commissioner said, ‘This weekend we dealt with the largest grass fire in our history, as well as a range of other serious fires. The ground is extremely dry, and grassland and parks will act like a tinderbox when exposed to the smallest of sparks. We are asking people not to drop cigarettes or matches on dry ground or out of car windows; don’t have barbecues on dry grass or parks and don’t leave glass bottles out as they can concentrate the sun’s rays and start a blaze. Grass fires spread like lightning. If you see grass smouldering, call 999 immediately.’